On Friday, we rode into Kennenbunkport, a really quaint but very touristy New England coastal town, full of clapboard houses and restaurants and wealthy looking visitors. This is where the Bush family has their summer home. We normally seek to avoid the coast in the summer and we were reminded why by the crowds and the traffic congestion but the place was incredibly picturesque.
We left Maine on Sunday, headed for Cambridge MA to meet Simon Walker who is working at Harvard University for the week. The last 24 hours in the tent were pretty rainy and although we and the tent were dry, some of our stuff was a bit damp and everything was covered in a fine layer of wet sand.
We decided to take the interstate highway to Boston to avoid traffic. Mistake. Holidaymakers returning home from the Maine coast filled the highway. Progress was slow but we still made it to Cambridge inside 2 and a half hours. I passed the time on the road reading number plates. Each state has a different plate containing the motto or nickname of the state. Rhode Island The Ocean State. Vermont The Green State etc. I wondered what we would choose for the counties of the UK if we subscribed to this method. Suggestions welcome. The furthest afield I saw was Ohio and Nova Scotia (which is in Canada). I also saw a sign to beware of moose, which had me watching the trees for about 15 minutes expecting one to leap out. No such luck.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Cambridge. We have stayed in many Airbnb apartments but never in a private room of someone’s home. It has worked out OK. The room is comfy, there is garage parking for the bike, the bus stops outside and we have electricity to charge our devices and WiFi. Keeping our phones and laptop charged is a full time job. We have managed to overcome our natural anti-social tendencies and desire for privacy in exchange for a cheap and convenient bed for the night.
The centre of Cambridge, home to Harvard University, apparently the bet and richest university in the world, looked just like and English town, full of low rise red brick buildings from the 19th century. The university campus was attractive but not splendid in the manner of Oxford or Cambridge and did not ooze wealth in the way I had expected, although the list of alumni is extremely impressive. I guess Oxbridge has a good 400 years on Harvard.
After drinks and dinner , we walked to the Thirsty Scholar, the pub where Facebook was invented and where scenes of the film The Social Network were filmed. After a couple of hours and several beers we ended up taking part in a pub quiz with probably the cleverest people in the USA (or as Simon pointed out maybe only students who failed their exams and are doing resist are in town at this time of the year). Needless to say, we were coming last when we left about 10pm, mostly due to our lack of knowledge of baseball, basketball and American History.